The Farmland Assessment Act (FAA, also called the Greenbelt Act) allows qualifying agricultural property to be assessed and taxed based upon its productive capability instead of the prevailing market value.
This unique method of assessment is vital to agriculture operations in close proximity to expanding urban areas, where taxing agricultural property at market value could make farming operations economically prohibitive.
We have just (July-November of 2011) performed a greenbelt audit for all of the county's greenbelt properties. This is a routine detailed review of each parcel and is part of Davis County Assessor's 5-year plan for detailed reviews, as required by the Utah State Tax Commission - the other area to be reviewed for the 2012 tax year is Layton City (see real property link for further information). Our goal is to have accurate data on each greenbelt parcel and to verify that each continues to qualify under current Utah State Tax Commission and FAA (Farmland Assessment Act) regulations. We anticipate performing another detailed review at the end of another 5 years.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is productive value determined?
Productive values are established by the Utah State Tax Commission with the assistance of a five-member Farmland Assessment Advisory Committee and Utah State University. Productive values apply county-wide and are based upon income and expense factors associated with agriculture activities. These factors are expressed in terms of value per acre for specific land classifications.
How is land classified?
›› Land is classified according to its capability of producing crops or forage.
Capability is dependent upon soil type, topography, availability of irrigation water, growing season, and other factors.
The County Assessor classifies all agricultural land in the county based on SCS Soil Surveys and guidelines provided by
the Tax Commission. The general classifications of agricultural land are irrigated, dry land, grazing land, orchard,
and meadow. If you disagree with your land classification, you can appeal to your county board of equalization for
What does it take to qualify?
Private farmland can quality for assessment and taxation under the Farmland Assessment Act if the land:
is at least five contiguous acres in area. Land less than five acres may qualify where devoted to agricultural
use in conjunction with other eligible acreage under identical legal ownership. Land used in connection with the
farmhouse, such as landscaping, etc. cannot be included in the acreage for FAA eligibility,
is actively devoted to agricultural use, and the operation is managed in such a way that there is a reasonable
expectation of profit;
has been devoted to agricultural use for at least two successive years immediately preceding the tax year in which
application is made; and
meets average annual (per acre) production requirements.
Production Requirement Defined
To qualify for the Farmland Assessment Act land must produce in excess of 50 percent of the average agricultural production
per acre for the given type of land and the given county or area. To determine production levels the County Assessor will
use the following sources: the most recent publication of Utah Agricultural Statistics; crop and enterprise budgets published
by Utah State University; or standards established by the Tax Commission.
A farmer grows alfalfa. The average annual production of alfalfa in his area is four tons per acre per year.
To qualify he must produce more than two tons per acre per year.
A rancher has 10 acres of irrigated pasture which would reasonably carry 10 cows or 50 sheep through the grazing
season. To qualify he will need to graze more than five heads of cattle or 25 sheep.
›› The acreage requirement may be waived if the owner can show that 80 percent or more or the owner's, purchaser's, or lessees'
income is derived from agricultural products produced on the land.
The production requirement will be waived if the land is involved in a bonafide range improvement program, crop rotation
program, or other similarly accepted agricultural practice which does not give reasonable opportunity to satisfy the
production level requirement.
Green Belt Application
What is the Application deadlines?
New applications for assessment and taxation under the Utah Farmland Assessment Act must
Be filed by May 1. Application necessary because of ownership change, legal description change, assessor request, etc., can be
How do I apply?
›› An application for assessment and taxation of agricultural land under the FAA can be
obtained from your County Assessor. This application should be completed and returned to the County Assessor before May 1, of the
year in which the preferential assessment is wanted. Supporting documentation may be required such as federal tax returns, affidavits, lease agreements, sales
receipts, production records, etc. which shows the production requirement has been met for the preceding two years.
Who may apply?
Any owner of agricultural land may apply for assessment and taxation under the Farmland Assessment Act.
Can leased land qualify?
Leased land can qualify for assessment and taxation under the FAA if the acreage requirement is met and the production requirement is satisfied. A purchaser or lessee may qualify the land by submitting,
along with the application from the owner, documents certifying that the production levels have been satisfied.
What happens when land is withdrawn from FAA?
›› When land becomes ineligible for farmland assessment (such as when it is developed
or goes into non-use), the owner becomes subject to what is known as a rollback tax. The rollback tax is the difference
between the taxes paid while on greenbelt and the taxes which would have been paid had the property been assessed at
market value. In determining the amount of rollback tax due, a maximum of five years in question will be applied to
determine the tax amount.
ROLLBACK TAXES ARE DUE AND PAYABLE WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER NOTIFICATION. IF NOT PAID ON TIME, TOTAL ROLLBACK TAXES WILL BE
SUBJECT TO THE GREATER OF $10 OR 2% PENALTY, WHICHEVER IS GREATER, UNDER SECTION 59-2-506, UCA 1953.
Taxable Value Per Acre
The following chart shows the taxable value per acre. The different land categories are: Irrigated lands, Orchard lands,
Meadow, Dry farm lands, Grazing lands, and Non-productive lands.